I started out with the foundational stuff, HTML and CSS as those were the languages that I had some previous experience with. After a few courses it all came rushing back and I was feeling very confident that while I didn’t know everything there was to know, I could definitely find out how to accomplish any task with a little bit of research and checking documentation. At that point I hit a crossroad. I wasn’t sure what language to pick up next. After a little research I felt confident that I wanted to build web applications. I just liked the openness of the web and that you could create a web app and get it out for people to use without having to navigate an app store like the iOS, Mac or Google Play store. I knew that I wasn’t the most naturally visually creative person and I didn’t find a ton of joy in the though of spending my days in Photoshop and Illustrator. I wanted to spend my days living in code. I love problem solving and coming up with creative solutions. That is where my creativity resides. So now what?
It took me a few weeks to work my way through that track and I also wanted to know more about the full stack so I took the complete tracks for Web Design and Front End Development. Overall it probably took me about 4 months to go through all of those tracks when working full time and taking care of family. I earned my first badge on treehouse on April 13th 2014 and today is September 24th 2014. It seems like so much longer than partially because I’ve just being going balls-to-the-wall since I started. I found that really love this stuff!! I think about code all the time, I fall asleep thinking about a coding problem, when I see a problem when I’m out running errands I immediately start thinking about how it can be fixed programmatically. Coding is soothing and relaxing for me. I take days off from work to go my favorite hang out spot, Gold Spike, to go and spend the day coding up projects. All of this made me realize that this was truly what I was passionate about. I can never get bored with coding. There’s always something new to learn and discover and implement. You can work your entire life and never be an expert in all areas of web development. This is very appealing to me.
One year ago from today I walked out of a classroom that was filled with my instructor, the head of academics for my Audio Production degree and other lead instructors from various department. Eyes still watery I walked to me car and sat there. Ten minutes before I presented my final portfolio presentation for graduation. The last barrier to getting my BS in Audio Production from the Art Institute of Las Vegas. Not too surprisingly to me I was told that my portfolio wasn’t going to cut it and that I would have to return the following quarter to repeat the last class and re-present my portfolio for graduation. Those word brought tears to my eyes however because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to return the following quarter.
I was tapped out. Three kids at home. Their mother a stay-at-home mother by necessity due to the high cost of childcare, I was the sole bread winner in the family. Working 40 hours a week, family responsibilities, five people living in a small two bedroom condo, a girlfriend that was growing weary of me either being at work, helping with the kids, or on the computer working on school work, I couldn’t afford to come back the next quarter. To top that I had previously met with my schools career advisory and he told me that to be honest most of the positions that he could get me were entry level and that would mean taking a pay cut from my job working front desk at one of the strip hotels in Las Vegas. I was dejected and lost all motivation to put up with the late nights and long hours to get a degree that was literally going to go up on the wall and do nothing for me in the next few years. I was tapped out.
When I first stated school, I didn’t have any little children at home and was thinking that I could up root and move to LA to pursue a career as an audio engineer. at graduation time I had a three year old and another one on the way. This made up rooting and moving to the far too expensive LA out of the question. Now there were issues like finding a job for their mother, and child care and finding a place for a full family instead of a shack for myself (I can live anywhere). With that out of the picture and finding out that Las Vegas’s audio market was mostly convention audio/video work or live sound work (both of which I was not passionate about, I wanted to work in a studio and be involved in the creative process), I felt lost. I had to re-evaluate my life and what moves I was going to make to change my life and the lives of my family for the better.
I was looking online at careers that paid well that didn’t necessarily require a four year degree. The last thing that I wanted to do was go back to school again for some more years. Computer programming kept coming up in the search results. I thought to myself, “I’ve always been a tech geek and I used to mess around with some HTML and CSS waaayyyy back in the days of MySpace to modify my simple profile, maybe I should look into this.” I looked at boot camps but there were not any boot camps in Las Vegas and the closest ones in California were way out of my price range. I already had an account with Lynda.com that I used to pick up new audio mixing, mastering and video editing skills while I was going to school. I poked around on there and found a ton of programming tutorials. The only issue was were to start!